22 October 2010

Ful-proof medames

Ful medames is top-notch comfort food. It's mushy, a bit spicy and a bit rich. It seems that ful = fava beans = broad beans. Wikipedia tells us that there are two main types - the green broad beans we are all familiar with and a darker one which goes into falafel which may explain why the beans on my tins aren't green. Ful medames is the national dish of Egypt, and usually eaten at breakfast. I had it in the evening.

    • two tins of ful (middle-eastern supermarkets will have these)
    • cumin, dried chilli, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon
    • one onion or two if very keen
    • parsley
    • things to eat with it - bread, egg, preserved lemon, feta, olives, pickled chilli, fresh tomato and cucumber salad etc.

Fry the onions (cut thin) in plenty of olive oil until softened - around twenty minutes. Add generous pinches of cumin and dried chilli flakes and an appropriate amount of garlic and fry for another three minutes. Add the ful and its liquid and simmer on low for twenty minutes more. Give it a taste and when it seems there add some (lots) of parsley roughly chopped.

Optimise levels of salt, pepper and olive oil and it is done. And it is a wondrous thing. The tinned ful (I'm sure purists would insist on dried beans but who can be bothered with that for a school-night supper?) cooks down excellently and the beans have a very slight fermented tang to them.

And then the all important question of what to serve with the ful medames arises. To give enough balance to make it a ful(l) meal I went for a pitta, fried egg (which is traditional I read, as is boiled egg) and pickled chillis but before I have had it with a pile of green olives and salad. Feta would be a natural match but I can also say that, highly inauthentic as it is, grated cheddar is good, cheesy beans style.

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